Ubuntu's CEO, Mark Shuttleworth fired one over Microsoft's bow with a statement that the soon to be released Ubuntu 9.10 is ready to go head-to-head with Windows 7 on Netbooks. He also said that Windows XP is still hanging around on some Netbooks as a "ghost." Shuttleworth wants another shot at the U.S. market with his new Ubuntu 9.10 and Ubuntu One offering. Ubuntu One is a file backup and sharing service where registered users receive 2GB of free storage and 50GB of storage for $10 per month.
I hope that works out for you Mark. I really do. Ubuntu is the ultimate Linux distribution built upon the best parent distribution (Debian) available today.
There's just one small catch: Not everything works yet.
That's actually a pretty big catch.
Windows has the best driver and application support. It also has the advantage of having the favorite corporate Kool-Aid taste. In other words, big companies like Windows because it's created and supported by one of the world's best companies: Microsoft. I know what you're thinking: "He's a traitor" or "He's being paid by Microsoft." I wish it were true that someone was paying me some big buckazoids to say these things but they aren't.
I love Linux. It's my favorite operating system. I use it and support it every single day of my life--and have for the past 14+ years. I have a full system dedicated to it and at least virtual machines running Linux various flavors. It has shortcomings for a user interface (formerly known as a Desktop) computer.
Linux is the best server operating system currently available. No question about it. On the user side, well, that's another story. Though I'm a big user of all Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, CentOS), I use it almost exclusively as a server operating system.
At one time, I used Linux as my primary desktop but I just can't do that any more and haven't for a long time. The reason? Mostly it's about ease of use and compatibility. Sure, I could use OpenOffice.org and remember to Save As all the time for everyone who uses MS products, I could forfeit my QuickBooks, I could use web-based apps for everything and I could just play Delta Force any more too. That last one would certainly make my wife happy. But I don't want to have to go to a lot of trouble just to use a computer.
I'm afraid Mr. Shuttleworth has his work cut out for him when trying to compete with Microsoft for user attention. It isn't likely to happen any time soon. There are too many issues and problems surrounding the use of Linux for a user's computer. One is peripherals and gadgets like phones, iTunes, printers and Netbooks.
Netbooks? Hey, that's what started this whole post. What's wrong with Ubuntu and Netbooks? Probably nothing, but for Mark Shuttleworth to assume Ubuntu 9.10 is going to compete favorably with Windows 7 on Netbooks, he must have something up his sleeve. I hope it's more than just a little magic or marketing hype because I've seen Windows 7 and it's good. Really good. I've also seen Ubuntu 9.10 and it's good too. Really good.
It should be an interesting showdown when both have had a chance to be Netbook-proven.
What do you think about the best operating system for Netbooks? Is Windows XP a ghost? Is Windows 7 all it's cracked up to be? Will Ubuntu 9.10 break in to the Netbook market in a big way?